This Memorial Day weekend you’re bound to see a range of military flags in various parades and flying high above local VFWs as well as city and federal offices. As we remember those who served our country, let’s take a brief moment to explore this history of each of these flags.
Air Force – The official flag of the United States Air Force has a coat of arms, surrounded 13 white stars (celebrating the 13 original colonies) and the official seal of the United States Air Force. The three stars that are grouped together between the bald eagle’s wings at the top of the flag symbolize the unity between the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.
Army – On June 14, 1956, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, on the 181st anniversary of the establishment of the United States Army, this flag was unveiled. The flag is white with a blue central design of the original War Office seal, with the year 1775 below and the words “United States Army” above.
Coast Guard – This flag is white with a dark blue Great Seal of the United States. The shield on the eagle's breast has a blue chief over vertical red and white stripes. Written in an arc over the eagle is “United States Coast Guard” and “Semper Paratus” (Always Ready) the Coast Guard motto, can be found below. Beneath that are the numbers 1790, which was when the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, the service’s ancestor was founded. All inscriptions are typically written in dark blue.
Navy Flags – This flag has the seal of the department of the Navy in the center above a yellow scroll inscribed “United States Navy” in dark blue letters, all against a dark blue background. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the president who officially adopted this flag to represent the Navy on April 24th, 1959. It is used on land in offices, in parades, for ceremonial occasions and often on a staff at the quarterdeck of ships in port.
U.S. Marine Corps Flag – The flag of the United States Marine Corps (also known as a standard or battle color) is scarlet with the Corps emblem in gray and gold. It was adopted in 1939, the Marine Corps Order 4 had established scarlet and gold as the official colors of the Corps as far back as 1925. Often times, the indoor and parade3 version is bordered by a gold fringe while the outdoor version is not.